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Ditching the Failure-Prone VGT Turbo on Ford’s ’11-’14 6.7L Power Stroke

More Power, Added Reliability

Mike McGlothlinPhotographer, Writer

Instant throttle response, big torque, and the ability to get loads moving in a hurry were great selling points for the 2011 Super Duty. Thanks to a variable geometry turbocharger, reverse flow cylinder heads, and a Bosch injection system utilizing piezoelectric injectors, Ford’s 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 packed 400hp and 800 lb-ft of twist when it debuted. However, power ratings on paper don’t always pan out in the real world. With roughly 50-percent of all modern diesel trucks being equipped with some sort of programmer or other power adder, it didn’t take long for 6.7L Power Stroke owners to find the weakest link in the chain: the Garrett GT32 SST turbo.

Equipped with variable geometry technology, a ceramic ball-bearing center cartridge, and an electronically-activated internal wastegate, the GT32 SST had all the bells and whistles, but proved to be a big restriction for the engine. Its dual compressor wheels sat back-to-back on a common shaft, but their small 46mm inducers yielded a power curve that ran out of steam before 3,000 rpm, not to mention that the turbine side was undersized by today’s standards. Once the 6.7L engine is saddled with a programmer, the restrictive GT32 SST can produce shaft speeds in excess of 150,000 rpm. In layman’s terms, the factory turbo is a ticking time bomb once it’s asked to cope with power levels beyond stock.

Eventually, the added fueling provided by a programmer will overspeed the turbo, causing it to self-destruct. This places truck owners in a unique dilemma: spend $1,900 on an OEM replacement unit that might meet the same fate, or invest in a proven alternative. Enter Maryland Performance Diesel’s budget turbo kit for 2011–2014 Fords. The company’s system replaces the factory charger with a time-tested unit from BorgWarner while reusing the factory intercooler piping, and upper and lower intake manifolds. If you’re the owner of a 2011–2014 Super Duty in need of a turbo, then you need to seriously consider this option. For $2,725.95, this system adds unmatched reliability to your truck, along with a noticeable bump in power output.